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Monday, August 16, 2010

Fun with "Mad Men"

I have to flag last night's Mad Men, which touched on three things of interest to my scholarship and blogging.

In the opening scene, Don Draper and Roger Sterling are on a conference call with the head of "Lucky Strike" cigarettes (their largest account), discussing how to handle new Federal Trade Commission limitations on cigarette advertising, limitations (including a ban on broadcast advertising) that today would trigger a First Amendment challenge. But in 1965, the Supreme Court still had not recognized First Amendment protection for commercial speech. So the only question was how to advertise around the prohibitions.

One limitation was a ban on using athletes in advertisements, so the discussion was what else they could do. Roger suggests bowling; there is silence, then Roger says "Yes, bowling is a sport." (And it is: large motor skills, objective scoring, competition). He then suggests horse racing and insists that is a sport (It's not: The horse is the machine doing the work); there is silence, then Roger says "No, the jockeys will be smoking."

Finally, Peggy goes to an art gallery to see an exhibition by a photographer/filmmaker who works with nudes. The party is broken-up by a police raid on a place showing "obscene" movies. Not surprising, in those pre-Miller days.

Fun stuff all around.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 16, 2010 at 02:24 PM in Culture, Howard Wasserman, Television | Permalink


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